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Lunch in Sarasota: Who's at the Top of Their Game Lately?

Jolyon Helterman Dec 26, 2010 11:33 AM

Bostonian stopping through Sarasota next week to visit brother, which I do about once or twice a year.

Normally, I drag him out to all the restaurants on the Sarasota hit parade. But this time, I only have time for a nice lunch out while I'm in town. Something celebratory and nice would be great, but not fancy-food-for-fanciness'-sake. Or just excellent food at a restaurant that feels like it's currently on its A-game. If nothing else, I'd go for an open-for-lunch steakhouse that sources good beef and broils/grills it the right way.

Any suggestions?

A few places we've gone in the past (mostly for dinner, obv):

Selva Grill
Derek's Culinary Casual
Euphemia Haye
Crab & Fin

Curious about that place that used to be Zoria's, Main Street Oyster Bar.


Selva Grill
1345 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236

Crab & Fin
420 Saint Armands Cir, Sarasota, FL 34236

Euphemia Haye
5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

Mozaic Restaurant
1377 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236

  1. sweet_polly Dec 30, 2010 04:15 PM

    I think Columbia is a nice choice for out-of towners. The Sarasota outpost has satisfied me the least of those I've tried (Ybor, St. Augustine, Bellaire Beach and Downtown St. Pete), but it still has some merit.

    When I drive to Sarasota, I drive to Cafe L'Europe on St. Armand's Circle. They have some naysayers here, too...but their food and service are always top-notch in my book, and that plus the charming venue always makes me feel as if I'm actually back in sidewalk cafe in Paris, Barcelona or Florence. Very authentic.

    1. l
      laboheme Dec 28, 2010 08:09 AM

      Libby's Cafe and Bar is outstanding (and has a lunch menu as imaginative as their dinner menu). Went there last Tuesday for the first time and can't wait to go back! Their Cauliflower fritter appetizer with truffle honey and short rib burger knocked my socks off. www.libbyscafebar.com/menu.htm

      1 Reply
      1. re: laboheme
        ospreycove Dec 29, 2010 06:32 AM

        Derek's has resumed his lunch menu for the season as always very good. He uses Avon Park Farms Pork and organic poultry, etc.

      2. w
        weezy Dec 26, 2010 02:57 PM

        Zoria closed long ago.
        Main Street Oyster Bar has also closed but Arthur and Ryan have recently opened a new place which I haven't been to yet but have heard good things.

        You may want to take him to Michael's on East.
        It's been awarded best place for a power lunch for many years. There's a filet mignon on the lunch menu but you could probably twist Michael's arm to fire up a NY Strip from the dinner menu. They're very proud of their steaks...among other creative items.

        Hope you enjoy your visit!

        Michael's on East
        1212 East Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34239

        1. Veggo Dec 26, 2010 11:55 AM

          With the skanky weather we're having I would take him to the Columbia for a hot bowl of ropa vieja or paella. And a mojito.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Veggo
            irwin Dec 30, 2010 06:43 AM

            Wouldn't take my dog to Columbia...... for several reasons !!
            Libby's and Michaels is excellent.

            1. re: irwin
              Veggo Dec 30, 2010 08:33 AM

              Dogs aren't allowed there.
              You have hammered the Columbia many times for reasons I don't share.

              1. re: Veggo
                ospreycove Dec 30, 2010 09:13 AM

                The Columbia in Sarasota is fine for chicken and yellow rice as well as Ropa Vieja. The "imported ingredient" Sangria is also very good. If you have not been to the original in Ybor City (Tampa's old cigar making district); The tiled bar area is a bit of Old Tampa architecture. At lunch, the main dining room is packed, so make a reservation.

                1. re: Veggo
                  Longboat Dec 30, 2010 09:38 AM

                  I'll split the difference between Veggo and Irwin.

                  Like Irwin, I wouldn't take my dog to Columbia either. On the other hand, leaving my dog at home, I'm sure that I would drink the Columbia mojito that you recommend.


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